There’s reportedly been an increase in flight tickets amidst the chaos of the coronavirus. And yet I have to ask myself, why? The country has been advised to practice social distancing, and yet I see people outside taking part in activities that are far from the advised. The country has been asked to stay inside their homes, and yet I see a nation that often bemoans wanting to stay inside and just watch Netflix, suddenly declare that it is their god-given right to be outside, and ventures out to do just the opposite of what health professionals advise. I don’t know how to say this lightly, but wake the f*ck up, America. 

This is a new virus. This a virus that led to an entire area, Wuhan, to be shut down to contain it. This is a virus that needed two new hospitals to be built in China within a week. This is a virus that led to Italy closing its borders. This is a virus that is projected to infect 50 percent of the world’s population. This is no laughing matter. So cease treating it like it is. This is a virus that has economies hurtling, entire stocks plunging, and a world that has been told to cloister itself. We need to take this seriously. 

Wearing a mask or donning a pair of gloves isn’t being overly cautious. It’s practicing basic safety measures. Do not scoff at something that could be so precious in saving your life, or the lives of others. Because that is another aspect that we are ignoring; just because your immune system is strong enough to recover does not mean you should go prancing around outside, becoming a carrier for the virus, and spreading it to those who could not survive. Social distancing is recommended because it works, and it works when people listen. So listen. 

I have more news for you: viruses have stages. This is phase one, and we are barely within the midst of it. Phase one will get more intense, mark my words, but once it’s passed, and people become even less worried and begin to venture out even more, phase two will arrive; the virus will return, infecting those who escaped phase one, and forcing us back into our homes. So I am also asking you to be smart, in addition to listening to everything health professionals say.

Because those are the true experts here: health professionals. The experts aren’t politicians who barely understand how a virus works, or a president who has consistently failed to act properly, or even a governor who has been lax on imposing strict measures. Listen to those who are trained to understand this virus best. And they are telling you to remain at home, so remain at home. They are telling you to wear gloves, so wear the damn gloves. They are advising you to use a mask, so use a mask. 

Viruses are in their nature to be scary, unpredictable, and messy. It’s just science. But health professionals are tasked with the knowledge we need in order to know what to do, so I entreat you, please, listen. Our nation already suffers from the grip of a healthcare system that is bound to crumble around us because it reaches so few, and costs too high. Please, try not to be so willfully blind. It is high time we begin to take this virus seriously, and do everything that health professionals are telling us to do.

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